2023 Honda Pilot TrailSport

With this being a Honda, expect a reliable family hauler that will hold its value and resale.
With this being a Honda, expect a reliable family hauler that will hold its value and resale.

by Jon Pangindian | April 25, 2023


When Honda first appeared on North American shores, they started with small fuel efficient cars determined to provide an alternative to large gas guzzlers. Fast forward several decades and vehicles such as the Accord and Civic still soldier on in much larger forms. Consumer tastes have changed dramatically and sport utility vehicles are now all the rage with their commanding views, heavy weight and higher than average fuel consumption. With the 2023 Honda Pilot TrailSport offered as the brand’s most off road capable vehicle, let’s see how things have changed.

The all-new 2023 Pilot has only been on the market for a few months but enters the fray with a total of five trim models available. Its competition includes the Kia Telluride, Ford Explorer, Toyota Highlander and Subaru Ascent. This segment is extremely competitive and one that manufacturers need to be on their A-game.

The previous generation Pilot was a continued sales success with strong sales in Canada and especially the United States where larger vehicles are all the rage. With its competitors turning up the heat on exterior design, Honda needed to bring the goods. To a certain degree, it has especially with the Pilot TrailSport here. Its predecessor looked rather drab and boring while the new Pilot looks more chiseled and substantial.

Our tester includes exterior upgrades such as TrailSport-unique 18-inch aluminum wheels, panoramic sunroof, blacked out roof rails, door handles, front grill and heated side mirrors. These small touches give the 2023 Pilot TrailSport a more rugged appearance overall. During our test week, we had more than a few double takes.

Inside, Honda has taken fewer risks to differentiate the TrailSport from other trims. The interior offers leatherette seating surfaces and removes the second row bench for twin flat-folding captain’s chairs. Unlike true body-on-frame sport utility vehicles such as the Jeep Wrangler or Ford Bronco, the Honda Pilot TrailSport leans towards luxury and comfort.

The nine-inch infotainment screen is crystal clear and easy to use. It does look downright tiny when using Android Auto, especially if you jump directly from a Kia Telluride’s massive screen into the Pilot. Thankfully unlike most competitors, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto can be used wirelessly. The nine-speaker, 225-watt sound system is impressive especially when you consider the Bose unit is reserved for higher trim levels.

While it’s not a dedicated off-roader, consumers looking for a cottage-bound family hauler for light trails will be more than satisfied with the TrailSport’s abilities. To differentiate this trim from others is the addition of steel skin plates to protect the engine and gas tank, optimized stabilizer bars, an increase of one inch of ground clearance, all terrain tires, Honda’s multi-view terrain camera and Trail Torque Logic with the all-wheel-drive system.

With the Pilot TrailSport no longer just a styling package and actually bringing some goods to go along with the name, you will be glad to hear that it does rather well on road for those daily commutes. It handles well, soaks up potholes and is quite smooth. A new 10-speed automatic transmission is matched well with the updated engine.

The 3.5-liter V6 found in the Pilot has a five horsepower increase from the previous generation. With 285 horsepower and 262 lb-ft. of torque, you may think that it’s at a disadvantage versus some of its competitors, but buyers will be pleasantly surprised in the real world. The Pilot provides more than enough thrust to get going from a stop light or over that incline, and at no point did we feel like it was down on power.

Fuel economy does suffer a bit with the Pilot TrailSport. City ratings are 13.0L/100km and highway at 10.3L/100km for a combined rating of 11.8L/100km. During our test week, we observed 12.1L/100km in cold winter tepmeratures, and mostly city driving. The 70-liter fuel tank is happy to accept regular 87-octane fuel.

Buyers looking to jump into a Pilot can get into the entry-level Sport for $52,734. To get into the TrailSport model, you’ll need to pony up $59,834. The only additional option is a $300 paint colour, if opting for anything other than Modern Steel Metallic. Our tester was optioned with Sonic Grey Pearl that brought the total price to $60,134.

While the 2023 Honda Pilot TrailSport may not break new ground inside or out when compared to some of its rivals, it does stand out with its buttery smooth powerplant and overall road manners. With this being a Honda, expect a reliable family hauler that will hold its value and resale better than most in this competitive three-row crossover segment.

See Also:

2023 Hyundai Palisade Ultimate Calligraphy

2023 Kia Telluride X-Line

2023 Honda Pilot Black Edition

Vehicle Specs
Three-Row Crossover
Engine Size
3.5L V6
Horsepower (at RPM)
285 at 6,100
Torque (lb-ft.)
262 at 5,000
Fuel Efficiency (L/100km, City/Highway/Combined)
Observed Fuel Efficiency (L/100km)
Cargo Capacity (in L)
Base Price (CAD)
As-Tested Price (CAD)
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About Jon Pangindian

Staff Writer

An experienced detailer and diehard car guy, Jon brings a creative eye to his new vehicle road tests. Aside from writing, Jon spends most of his time tinkering with new detailing products and experimenting with ceramic coatings.

Current Toy: ’13 650i Gran Coupé